From £34,4509
Jaguar's debut SUV wowed us abroad, but does it still impress as much here on the UK's roads?

Our Verdict

Jaguar F-Pace 2.0d R-Sport

Jaguar takes a typically sporting approach to its F-Pace but it isn't enough to better its sibling - the Land Rover Discovery Sport - as of yet

26 April 2016

What is it?

It's Jaguar's brand new and first SUV which you'll remember, if you cast your mind back to our reviews earlier this month, was pretty darn good. Now we're swapping Montenegro's smooth switchbacks for the UK's rough-and-tumble roads for the first time.

As soon as next week, we'll have driven it back to back with its closest rivals and a more detailed conclusion will be forthcoming. But for now, because we're a little bit excited (and we think you might be too), here are our early driving impressions after a day behind the wheel.

Once again we're driving what's expected to be the best-selling F-Pace, the 178bhp 2.0d model in all-wheel-drive Auto R-Sport guise, a car that is as near as dammit the same spec as the one we tried abroad, save for one crucial element: its suspension. Before, we were able to stiffen up and dial back the F-Pace's dampers using Jag's optional £960 Adaptive Dynamics Pack, but here we make do with a passive set-up, although we're running on the same 20in wheels.

Porsche's Macan remains a rival dynamically, although a more relevant one versus six-cylinder-engined F-Paces. As a 2.0d, and hence one with running costs in mind, this F-Pace is a closer match to cars such as BMW's X3 xDrive20d and JLR's very own Land Rover Discovery Sport 2.0d.

What's it like?

Dynamically, it's still hugely impressive. As a general rule, SUVs are getting better at mimicking sports cars, and although none - including any F-Pace - will have you completely fooled, this is a Jaguar that's certainly capable of making you smile every bit as much as a Macan or X3 is able to do on the road. 

For starters, weight builds immediately off the steering wheel's centre and maintains a confidence-inspiring meat throughout when pushing. In fact, it's nicely judged at all speeds, and as the front wheels grip hard into bends the F-Pace's body remains usefully upright even with its tall stance and on its passive chassis. 

Ride quality isn't quite as supple as it was on foreign roads with adaptive dampers fitted, although it remains largely composed. There's a firmness about the way the R-Sport model rolls over potholes and expansions joints that will be irksome to some potential buyers, but it's far from off-putting. Those seeking a more relaxed set-up to go with this more relaxed diesel engine might consider smaller alloys and adaptive dampers.

Not that the 2.0d feels sluggish. Of course, it doesn't have the deep-down heft of the V6 diesel, but there's more than enough flexibility on tap to ensure overtaking and motorway sliproad dashes don't require much in the way of planning. It's a shame that it rattles to life from cold and sounds harsh under load, but at least it smoothes and settles with warmth. 

Not surprisingly, the F-Pace's driving position is still good, with plenty of support and adjustment at the seat and a fairly commanding view forward. Two adults will sit behind two of the same with good head and leg room, and the F-Pace's boot is a competitive size and practical shape with very good access. 

Also deserving of praise is Jaguar's latest InControl Touch Pro infotainment system, which reacts swiftly to inputs and is intuitive to use. In fact, it's one of the best touchscreen systems we’ve tried, so it's a pity that it's a costly option at £1710. The standard 8.0in system in our UK car is decent enough (although it looks graphically unexceptional) and has DAB radio and sat-nav, but it's that bit slower to respond when you press the screen.

The dash that surrounds it is mostly constructed from plastics that give to the touch, but there's the odd piece of trim and switchgear that looks and feels below par considering the sort of money Jaguar is demanding. Porsche does a slightly better job with its Macan's cabin overall, truth be told, although an X3 gives the impression of a similar level of luxury. 

Should I buy one?

The F-Pace is a strong first foray into the SUV class by Jaguar, successfully combining all that's great about the brand with what matters to buyers of large SUVs - namely sleek looks, exciting handling and a spacious and practical cabin.

In 2.0d form it has the sort of running costs they desire, too, with its officially claimed 53.3mpg and 139g/km CO2 emissions putting it roughly on a par with important rivals. Our upcoming back-to-back testing will confirm a final order, but at this early stage, the F-Pace feels like a car very much in tune with the UK driver. 

Jaguar F-Pace 2.0d AWD R Sport

Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £40,360; Engine 4 cyls, 1999cc, diesel; Power 178bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 318lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1775kg; Top speed 129mph ; 0-60mph 8.2sec; Economy 53.3mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 139g/km, 25%

Join the debate

Comments
42

26 April 2016
Why are the engines in JLR products always shit? You know that BMW would have a 3 litre 6 cylinder engine in theirs putting out 300bhp and this car has to make do with 180bhp. Always the same. Engine are always crap.


26 April 2016
3 litre engines just as powerful in the main as BMW and 2 litre similar if anything the BMW diesels are rougher than the JLR ones.

27 April 2016
Ski Kid wrote:

3 litre engines just as powerful in the main as BMW and 2 litre similar if anything the BMW diesels are rougher than the JLR ones.

No. The X3 can be ordered in 35d configuration.


A34

26 April 2016
Winston Churchill wrote:

Why are the engines in JLR products always shit? You know that BMW would have a 3 litre 6 cylinder engine in theirs putting out 300bhp and this car has to make do with 180bhp. Always the same. Engine are always crap.

Majority of X3 / Q5s sold (in the UK) are 2.0 diesels, and they're not sh*t/cr*p either. In case you've missed it, even the new Boxster has a 4 cyl turbo these days. JLR is pretty much on target with the F-pace, although as Rory hinted, they should expect it to cannibalise mid-range Evoque / Discovery Sport sales. And the F-pace name still grates!

27 April 2016
Shows you have no clue what you are on about. It does come with 3.0D 300hp - they drove it at the press launch. And they are quieter than BMW engines aswell.

27 April 2016
Winston Churchill wrote:

Why are the engines in JLR products always shit? You know that BMW would have a 3 litre 6 cylinder engine in theirs putting out 300bhp and this car has to make do with 180bhp. Always the same. Engine are always crap.

The F-Pace is available with a 296bhp diesel V6 - there's a review of that configuration on this very site. Faster (0-60 Top Trumps style, at least) than a Macan diesel S, not as quick as an X3 35d but less thirsty.

It's not a bad engine line-up really - this 180bhp one is probably going to be the big seller, but there are lower and higher powers for those as want such.

26 April 2016
Probably because this car has only just been released... Models tend to get added to over time. The x3 is thrashed on looks alone by this car however.

26 April 2016
Probably because this car has only just been released... Models tend to get added to over time. The x3 is thrashed on looks alone by this car however.

26 April 2016
Probably because this car has only just been released... Models tend to get added to over time. The x3 is thrashed on looks alone by this car however.

26 April 2016
Probably because this car has only just been released... Models tend to get added to over time. The x3 is thrashed on looks alone by this car however.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again
  • Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer
    First Drive
    13 October 2017
    Off-road estate is now bigger, more spacious and available with torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, but is it enough to make its German rivals anxious?